Pennsylvania Launches First Sportsbook and Other Casinos Will Follow
The very first sportsbook in Pennsylvania officially opened within the last two weeks at the Hollywood Casino at Penn National. It was a monumental occasion for a state that’s been publicly scrutinized for its high taxes and fees. Now that the Hollywood Casino has seen early success, four other casinos will shortly follow.
Sports Betting at the Hollywood Casino
The company started testing its sports betting product at 3 pm on November 15; this made Pennsylvania the seventh state to offer legal sports gambling, joining Delaware, New Jersey, West Virginia, New Mexico, Mississippi, and of course, Nevada. The sports betting operations are run by William Hill US.
The first legal bet was $20 placed on the Pittsburgh Steelers to win the Super Bowl. The VP of Marketing at Hollywood Casino, Fred Lipkin, is optimistic that sports gambling at the facility is off to a good start.
The sports betting parlor at Hollywood Casino has rows of desks in front of a bank of TVs on one wall. Cashiers wear referee shirts to keep up the sport theme. The minimum bet is $2, and bettors can wager on both collegiate and pro sports.
Penn National is waiting for final approval to offer online sports betting, and Lipkin says that it should be available sometime during the first quarter of the new year.
In other good news for Hollywood Casino, the PGCB unanimously approved the casino’s license for another five-year term.
Sports Betting in the Keystone State
Getting legal sports betting in Pennsylvania wasn’t an easy task; with the $10 million sports gambling license fee and an incredible 36 percent tax rate, there was some reluctance from operators. Despite this, a total of six casinos have applied for a license so far: Hollywood Casino at Penn National, Harrah’s Philadelphia, Parx Casino, SugarHouse Casino, and Rivers Casino Pittsburgh.
Official Gaming Hours
Once a casino has received a license, it may offer sports betting from 11 am through midnight Monday through Friday, and 10 am through midnight on Saturdays and Sundays.
Other Casinos to Follow Suit
The state Gaming Control Board approved licenses on Wednesday for sportsbooks planned at the Parx Casino in Bensalem, which will have Kambi offer its betting technology, and the SugarHouse Casino in Philly and Rivers Casino Pittsburgh, both of which are owned by Rush Street Gaming and will have Rush Street Interactive to operate the betting tech. Harrah’s in Chester is still awaiting approval.
Douglas Harbach, a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, said Parx and SugarHouse are likely to start their two-day testing within the next several weeks.
The PGCB also approved the online gambling license application for the Mohegan Sun Pocono casino, but the casino later withdrew its request and will now only offer online slots and table games. After all of the eligible state casinos had first shot at online licenses the Gaming Control Board opened up applications to “qualified gaming entities” who might be interested in offering online sports betting. The PCGB will hold a blind random drawing at some point in the future to determine who gets those licenses.
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